rental demand

Good news for landlords as tenants stay put for longer

A growing number of tenants are choosing to renew their tenancies rather than seek a new property, giving landlords less void periods to worry about.

For buy-to-let landlords, there are multiple benefits to having tenants who decide to stay put in your property for a number of years.

Not losing rent when a property is empty, having less admin to deal with at the end of a tenancy (and the start of a new one), and forming a good relationship with tenants are some of the top reasons why long-term renting can be beneficial for landlords.

As has been widely reported, the number of rental homes available in the UK is falling far short of the number of tenants seeking homes. While this is causing difficulty for prospective renters, it also means that those with existing tenancies are more keen to stay where they are.

A new peak in demand

Propertymark’s latest Private Rented Sector Report has revealed that almost three quarters (73%) of agents have reported an increase in the number of tenancy renewals over the past year.

This is coupled with the statistics that 127 new prospective tenants were registered per agency branch on average, while the average number of homes to rent per agency branch was just 11. Inevitably, this is a major driver behind tenants wanting to stay put if they are already renting somewhere.

The number of tenants registering per Propertymark agency branch has been slowly increasing since February this year. However, although the number of properties available hasn’t increased since June, it has also been steadily rising since February, when there were around five per branch.

More than four fifths (82%) of agency branches also noted month-on-month rent increases to July, which is a new record for the industry body’s data. It notes that rental pressure has been “steadfast” since spring last year, with many landlords increasing prices.

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark CEO, says: “The private rental market continues to be battered by the perfect storm of high demand, low availability and affordability issues that shows no sign of easing.

“Governments across the UK are all engaged in a tenant-focused reform of their private rental sectors.

“To boost supply, they also need to consider the heavy tax burden on property owners, the impact of more profitable and less regulated short-term lets, many of which stand empty for part of the year, and the lack of new homes being built to cope with the varied needs of a growing population.”

Advice for landlords

Attracting and retaining good, long-term tenants is one of the best ways landlords can maximise their rental homes and monthly income, by avoiding periods where the property sits empty and saving money on the fees – and time – involved in getting new tenants.

Below are some tips for landlords on how to bring in and keep the best tenants for your home:

Ways to make tenants want to stay

  • Look at areas of high demand. If you invest in an area with high tenant demand, such as in or close to a major city or town, you will have a wider choice of good tenants. Think about where local jobs are, the transport options and the social scene in the area.
  • Consider size. Depending on your target tenant, size could make a difference. If you want to attract affluent young professionals, for example, a spacious two-bedroom apartment might be a good choice. If your investment is in London, a one-bedroom flat or studio might be more popular.
  • Invest in mod cons. Today’s tenants expect more from their rental properties. Patchy WiFi and a kitchen without a dishwasher are not on most peoples’ wish lists. You could even add smart technology, as these small touches can make a tenant want to stay.
  • Think about their bills. The more eco-friendly your property is, the lower your tenants’ bills will be. This is a major selling point, and you could even get a better mortgage rate for your property. New-builds offer the most energy-efficient options.
  • Make it their space. Tenants want to feel at home in a place, even if they are renting. If it’s furnished, consider investing in a furniture pack to get the right balance. You should also respect the fact that it is their space by giving plenty of notice for inspections.
  • Resolve issues quickly. If an appliance breaks or there’s a leak, respond as quickly as possible. The same applies for any disputes that arise. Once you’ve got good tenants, this can help you keep them.
  • Get good tenants. Your vetting process should help you rule out risky tenants. This could include those who have been evicted by landlords in the past, or who have failed to pay rent. If you appoint a letting agent, they should do this for you, but you can still have a say.
  • Consider an HMO. A house in multiple occupation (HMO) tends to have separate contracts for each tenant. This means that when one leaves, it is only that room that stops bringing in rent, rather than the whole property.
  • Budget for void periods. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your tenants decide to move out. It is important for landlords to have a contingency plan for this so that you can cover any costs until you find a new tenant.

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